Crisis Ridden Britain – A Country Heading For Ruin
Britain is on a trajectory of going to the dogs. The rot started years ago – but the defining pinnacle of political and economic mismanagement was the 2008 bank-led financial crisis. It led to the dismally failed Cameron/Osborne austerity era – little more than an exercise in class war. Brexit and the government of Johnson are all linked to this failure. The real failure, is of course, that something for almost everyone is now going wrong. The poor are getting poorer, the middle classes are being royally shafted via a huge tax burden and the very rich are going somewhere else.
Everything is now in crisis – from the economy to rapidly rising rates of poverty. A ministry of incompetents reigns over us.
Right now, ministers for the government are attempting to defend the indefensible. The indefensible is just about everything you can think of that a government in charge of a country like Britain should not be doing. Today’s scandal is Partygate – just one of a long list of sleaze ridden issues that this government is accused of. Scandal is the new norm. Black is white.
The PM has no less than three investigations aimed at him at the same time – and dozens of fines are being thrown at Downing Street employees by the Metropolitan Police – 50 so far, including the PM. Boris Johnson is the first sitting PM in British history to be found guilty of a criminal offence whilst in office. Not that it makes any difference anymore.
One of those investigations is the Sue Gray report. It is so damning, according to a report in The Times today, that senior officials believe it could leave Boris Johnson with no choice but to resign as prime minister.
The fact the Conservative party has not thrown Johnson out of Downing Street is an astonishing admission of their own impropriety. It demonstrates that moral authority is no longer a prerequisite for governance.
The Times also reports this week that more than 50 MPs are facing allegations of sexual misconduct after being reported to parliament’s Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS).
Around 70 complaints about 56 MPs have been received by the ICGS. It is understood that these range from allegations of sexual harassment to more serious wrongdoing.
And as if that wasn’t bad enough for a day in the office for MPs – we now know that Tory whips are blackmailing their own MPs to ensure they don’t vote against Boris Johnson when allegations of corruption (and the like) emerge when really some backbone to stand up against a charlatan are required.
It is awful to have to admit, but corruption now sits at the very heart of Britain’s democracy. It includes – cash for peerages, where 15 out of a total of 16 Conservative treasurers over the last two decades had donated more than £3 million to the party and then been offered a seat in parliament’s upper chamber. It’s the the type of thing you’d expect to hear in Vladimir Putin’s regime.
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Things are so bad, that 76 per cent of voters think the government is corrupt but even worse 7 in 10 Tory voters believe the same to be true – that the Tory party is corrupt to the core.
The list of malfeasance and abuse of public office under this government goes on and on. MPs second jobs, fast-tracked Covid contracts to mates, the PM’s illegal flat refurbishment and freebie holidays from undeclared donors. Everything from files, documents and messages going missing when investigations are called to swaying government watchdogs by stuffing them with cronies. It wasn’t long ago that the Speaker of the House – called in the police because as he alluded – “drug abuse was rife in the Houses of Parliament.”
How is the British public, whose average age is 40 served best when 451 members of the House of Lords are over the age of 70, 142 over the age of 80 and 12 over 90? Just 2 per cent of the UK’s population are millionaires – but in David Cameron’s government – two-thirds of the cabinet was made up of multi-millionaires. It was the same with Theresa May. Under Boris Johnson, the Conservative party has now been branded a ‘party of billionaires’ as one-third of the UK’s richest 150 people have thrown well over £50million in donations to the Tories.
Britain’s democracy is now so fragile as a result of, very particularly, the last decade – it is described as being in ‘terminal decline’. Only two months ago an international index that champions freedom, civil liberties and good governance reported that Britain was teetering over the edge into what is known as a ‘flawed democracy.’ Let’s not shy away from what this really means. A flawed democracy is quite well defined where media freedom is suppressed, political opposition and critics are singled out and there are significant issues in the functioning of governance. Corruption being one of them.
According to the Global Citizen report – America reached that accolade when Donald Trump had only been in power for one year – which ended with the storming of the capitol. And Britain is rapidly heading in that direction. In the last year or so, this government has shown it wants the power to criminalise peaceful protest leading to prison sentences of 51 weeks. It also wants full control over the elections regulator and the power to strip British citizenship from people at the whim of a bureaucrat’s signature.
Britain’s system of justice is also under attack by this government. Judicial review provides justice for ordinary citizens. It should be protected from a populist regime that would damage Britain at all costs. Without it, the courts would end up being overtly and dangerously political, which will soon happen.
This dire and dangerous situation has been dramatically accelerated under Boris Johson’s administration. This is further evidenced by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) which placed Britain’s (latest) democracy ranking behind Taiwan and Uruguay, and just ahead of Mauritius and Costa Rica.
It was telling when members of Albania’s government mocked the level of democratic corruption in Britain stating that they would never be able to get away with the types of abuse of public office that Britain’s government have got away with recently. Albania no less.
The spiral continues. Press freedom in the UK is now among the worst in the Western world. Reporters Without Borders stated last year – “Despite the UK government’s stated commitment to defending global media freedom, domestic restrictions remained a cause for concern. A secret government unit appeared to serve as a clearinghouse for freedom of information requests, and critical media outlets found themselves blacklisted or facing other restrictions. Critical reporting on the government’s Covid-19 response was met with vindictive official reactions.” This year, Assange, arguably Europe’s only political prisoner (leaving aside the dictatorship of Belarus), is being extradited to the USA by Britain where he faces a 175-year prison sentence for exposing war crimes.
Britain’s economy is predicted to do worse than any of the G7 next year, than any of its peers. It is because it is being mismanaged. Brexit, good or bad could have been an opportunity. But it’s being wasted. You only have to look at the archaic fossil they’ve put in charge of it.
And look at our masters in the great offices of state. The Home Secretary, Priti Patel – accused of misleading parliament and being “reckless” and a “serial offender” in breaching the ministerial code, of bullying and hypocrisy. The Chancellor Rishi Sunak – mired in accusations of tax avoidance in the ‘nom-dom’ scandal along with the Health Secretary Sajid Javid. The Foreign Secretary, Lix Truss, one the four architects of ‘Brittania Unchained’ that brought us Brexit – failed to do as promised and sign any trade deals we didn’t already have. Recently, she has spent more time in photoshoots and spaffing taxpayers’ cash up the walls of five-star hotels than achieving anything tangible.
The great con that will ruin Britain is that we live in a country that has emphatically failed to reform itself ready for the 21st century. It’s a gravy train to them – and you’re not on it.
Despising Boris Johnson is easy. Despising those that support him is as well. But the rot that allowed them in to ruin what was left of Britain was already there. The place to start is shoring up our democracy, making malfeasance in public office an offence that requires time behind bars, to completely reforming the House of Lords and ridding ourselves of an archaic system of representative selection through ‘first past the post‘. From there – the work can get started. And because non of that will happen – Britain is a country heading for ruination. Depressing isn’t it.